It’s so easy, isn’t it, to look at other people who are living the life of their dreams and say ‘it’s ok for them, they had money, they had luck, they had a supportive husband, they had…’ whatever it was that you didn’t have.
Trust me, I’m not one of those people that had any of those things.
I come from a working class family and a really dodgy part of the UK. I was bullied at school for being the only kid in class who didn’t wear branded trainers because we couldn’t afford it.
And for most of my early adulthood I struggled with low confidence, low self-esteem and self-doubt. At the age of 15 my Mum sent me to see a hypnotherapist in the hope it’d help me feel more confident. It didn’t work, because a few years later when I moved to London after graduating, I was a young woman who didn’t believe in herself.
"I could never run my my own business", I told people, or "I wouldn't be able to go travelling by myself", like others did. I was so shy I couldn’t even say boo to a goose, let alone talk to strangers. Whilst I had always excelled at school, it didn’t prepare me for real life at all, and I had no clue how to transfer academic success into career success. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer.
But I didn't want to be the person that says "I can't". I wanted to be the person that said "I did".
The turning point came when my university boyfriend dumped me not long after we moved to London. I had very little to show for myself, in terms of hobbies, friends, skills and so on. I realised that I needed to GET A LIFE. A life I love.
So that’s exactly what I did.
First of all, I designed my ideal life on paper (I call it my ‘Love Life Plan’, which you can download here), according to 8 different values: career, finance, friends & family, romance, hobbies, travel & adventure, physical health, and mental wellbeing.
I decided what I wanted for each area, and I've spent my life since putting it all into place. But I knew that the person I was back then, couldn't achieve the things I wanted to achieve. I knew I'd have to change. I knew I had to think differently about myself. I just had to figure out how to do that, how to become the person I needed to be in order to have the life I wanted.
First of all I invested a lot of time and money into learning about personal development and putting this into practice in my own life. Then, when a chance-opportunity arose for me to go and work onboard cruise ships, I took it. I quit my office job and worked at sea for 2 years as a photographer. I'd realised that there had got to be more to life than sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week, so I went and found it. In the run up to that though, I knew that if I wanted to make my life at sea a success, I'd have to become more confident around strangers, so I decided to go travelling through South America first, by myself, in order to develop the skills I'd need. I distinctly remember at one point when I was planning my trip, closing down my laptop in frustration thinking 'don't be stupid, you can't pull off something like this!' Five minutes I reopened my laptop thinking, if someone else has done it, then I can too. I booked it, and off I went (in floods of tears and fears, yes, but I did it! And I've never looked back.)
Fast forward a couple of years and I'd achieved things I previously didn't think I could ever achieve. I'd managed to overcome my self-doubt and limiting beliefs and become the person I wanted to be. So when I decided to start my own business, it was obvious that helping others to achieve the same in their own lives was the gift that I could offer.
I returned to London, trained professionally in various coaching diplomas and personal development courses (investing over £12,000 so far), and here I am now, living a life I love whilst coaching others to do the same. I have my own business which allows me to OWN every minute of my time. I travel the world and take my work with me. My appointments fit around my powerlifting classes and I go to see my favourite DJs every month. Next year I’m on track to emigrate – it’s all part of the vision I have for my life. At the same time I work with amazing people and I get to supporting them in changing their life, overcoming the hurdles I once had, and it gives me goosebumps every single time.
Don’t get me wrong – it's not always easy and my life isn't perfect. I still have doubts, fears, difficulties and insecurities. But I can handle them because I know that discomfort is the price you pay for a meaningful life.
Despite my inner voice telling me I can't, despite all my doubts and insecurities, I designed my life and my business to be the way I want it. You can too.